November 15, 2008 "Ask Seth"

How often should my dog go to the vet? How do I know if he is really sick?

Dear Seth,

How often should my dog Bentley go to the veterinarian? Also, how do I know if my dog is really sick and needs to be seen by a vet?

Becky and Bentley, Bristol, PA


Becky,

For most healthy dogs, an annual visit with vaccinations is the minimum. This allows the veterinarian the opportunity to complete a physical exam, fecal exam, and other tests that he feels necessary. With puppies, the frequency is much higher the first year due to vaccine boosters, neutering/ spaying, and basic health checks. If there are ongoing problems, there will be an increase in visits. For pets 6-7 years and older, your vet may recommend that the pet be seen at least twice a year to pick up any conditions. This allows for a greater range of treatment options.

These are some of the signs to look for when thinking about bringing the dog to the vet because they may be sick.

1. Lethargy or change in behavior. This is when the animal is     moping around, shows decreased level of activity, or refuses to walk.

2. Inappetence. Stops eating.

3. Vomiting or diarrhea.

4. Change in water consumption.

5. Increase in urination.

6. Unexplained weight loss.

7. Limping or obvious pain.

You know your pet best and if you have a gut feeling that something is not right, play it safe and contact your veterinarian. Be alert for these subtle changes and use your best judgment. Feel free to contact your vet if you have concerns with your pet.

Seth Mayersohn, CVT

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